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To: The SUNY Cobleskill Community
From: Marion Terenzio, President
Re: the Strategic Planning Process
Date: February 3, 2017

We have begun a new year and a new century energized by our celebration of our rich and proud history, and we are more informed as to how our past has set the course of our future. As you know, we are in the process of creating a new strategic plan and our Task Force has been hard at work crafting the scaffolding of the plan and building the broad overview and direction for community discussion, exchange of ideas, and eventual endorsement. Noted below is the invitation to the Task Force members regarding their role in the planning process.

“Last year, Faculty Governance voted to continue the current plan (The Second Century Enterprise) for one more year to allow me time to learn more about the College. I appreciated the gesture and I am ready to begin the process of creating the next plan.

The FASP Committee and I would like you to join us in this work. The process will be engaging and we will build on existing work and documents, including the current plan, the SUNY Performance Improvement Plan, Middle States recommendations and the results from the FASP review and the Transition plan.

The plan will represent our values, aspirations for ourselves and our students, and incorporate our commitment to our internal community as well as communities beyond our campus. I am very excited about the future of SUNY Cobleskill and I am confident that we will create a plan that supports our high standards, our desire to continue our cutting-edge approaches to education, and our promise to graduate problem-solvers and critical thinkers.

The planning process will be lead and managed by two highly capable community members, Anita Wright and Scott Ferguson who will serve as co-chairs of the Committee. I will certainly have a role in the process, but Anita and Scott will serve as the point people and keep the process moving.

It is our expectation that by the end of this semester the Committee will have a draft shell or outline of the plan. This would include the number of goals, overarching themes, possible metrics and accomplishments from the past plan. We will determine the spring semester schedule after we assess our progress in December. We expect to have the plan completed by May and allow for review over the summer and into the fall semester. We will then ask for a vote of endorsement at the first faculty meeting.”

The Task Force members are:

Anita Wright (co-chair)
Scott Ferguson (co-chair)
Ed Asselin
Joe Batchelder
Tom Cronin
Sophie Winter

Lynn Berger
Barb Brabetz
Mark Cornwell
Paul Dunn
Carrie Edsall
Caleb Grant
Susan Zimmermann

Molly Karlin (student)
Katie Kollar
Tim Purcell (Foundation)
Jack Rivituso
Eric Stein (College Council)
Bonny Boice (Facilitator)

To date, the Task Force has met four times, including a full two-day retreat in January where they spent time laying the ground rules of engagement and work strategies and identifying key topics and areas from which to construct the three or four main goals. I have been impressed by the candor, openness and attitude displayed by all team members and their commitment to the process and to creating a worthwhile and useful document. Part of the process has been to honor the confidentiality of candid discussion, and to address the “good, the bad and the ugly.” Such engagement gives me great hope that our community will do the same during the open discussions of the Task Force’s public document.

Here is a time frame for next steps.

  1. The Task Force has identified four key areas that were deemed the most important, relevant and necessary features/attributes/issues that require our full attention and resolution. They are
    1. Operational Efficiency
    2. One Coby
    3. Who are We?
    4. Pathways
  2. Task Force members have been assigned to one of the four groups and have been tasked with
    1. Reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and,
    2. Creating best-case and worst-case scenarios for that topic.
    3. Meeting to flesh out possible goals and connections to the other three areas, and
    4. Reporting back to the main group on progress.
  3. I, along with Jim Feldman, was tasked with drafting the vision, mission and value statements based on the rich conversations that occurred over the course of the retreat. The next steps include
    1. Disseminating the statements to the Task Force and greater community for feedback
    2. Holding three separate coffee sessions to allow for an exchange of ideas with me The coffee sessions are scheduled for the following dates. The place TBD.
      1. Monday, February 20th at 2:00
      2. Thursday, February 23rd at 10:00
      3. Wednesday, March 1st at 1:00.
  4. The Task Force will continue to do its work for the next several months. The members will gather information, which will include doing outreach to community members, and develop goals. Please be prepared to accommodate requests from the Task Force members if they call upon you for assistance.
  5. I and the Task Force will create a communication plan to keep the community informed. This letter is the first.
  6. The Task Force will submit a report to me and the community in May for community review. We will establish a variety of feedback venues, allowing for extensive and comprehensive exchange of ideas and review of the document. This will include but not be limited to all existing community groups, including the reconstitution of the Administrative Council for its input.

This process has already invigorated me and the Task Force, because we have an incredible history on which to anchor this institution, we are a tremendously talented community, and we aspire to be a destination college who designs the future. I am proud to be a member of this Task Force, and to witness their forthrightness of spirit, attitude and respect for each other and the process.

As I said at the Convocation, we continue to strive to be an empathic community. That is the only way we can come together to create an entity that is bigger than us, which is critically important for our students, their future and the future of this society. I look forward to seeing you at the coffees where we will discuss the vision, mission and value statements. I want to thank you in advance for your support of the Task Force, your contribution to the plan and your deference to process on behalf of Coby.

Where we have been . . . 

SUNY Cobleskill has been engaged in the strategic planning process since October 2016.  It was determined that an inclusive, transparent process was critical.  With that foundation, we have set out to create a fluid process that will result in a living strategic plan to guide our direction and decisions at SUNY Cobleskill for the next five years.

The following is a summary of the journey that SUNY Cobleskill began in fall 2016:

October 2016 – The Fiscal Affairs and Strategic Planning Committee Chair and the Strategic Planning sub-committee chair met with President Terenzio to discuss the strategic planning process and the creation of the Task Force.

November 2016 – President Terenzio and Sophie Winter, Chair of FASP, invited members of the campus community to serve on the Task Force including six members of the FASP governance committee.  S. Scott Ferguson and Anita Wright were asked to co-chair the Task Force, “Designing the Future”.

December 2016 – Task Force met twice to receive their charge and discuss the process.

January 2017 – A two-day, on-campus retreat, led by Bonny Boice, a strategic planning consultant, was held to begin the process with brainstorming and work sessions throughout each day. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats were determined. Group teams with leaders were created to continue the work by collecting campus input and researching the four areas of focus.

February & March 2017 – Group meetings, focus group sessions, coffees hosted by the President, leadership and Task Force meetings were held to collect input and continually adjust the Vision, Mission and Values.

April 2017 – Four strategic initiatives were developed from the work groups and approved by the Task Force.  White boards were distributed across campus top collect additional input from the community. The SWOT summary was reviewed by each team and edited. A fifth initiative was discussed. Task Force members selected the Initiative they will work on and the President assigned Cabinet members to each initiative.

May 2017 – The Task Force approved the Vision-Mission-Values and the SWOT summary. The Fifth Initiative was developed and approved. The process moved into the transition phase where the administration was brought into the process. The Cabinet members were given leadership roles for each strategic initiative team. On May 17th an endorsement of the Task Force’s work was requested and received at the last faculty meeting of the year.

June 2017 – Five Professional Development workshops were held with excellent campus-wide participation on the mornings of June 7 and 8.  In the afternoons, the Initiative Teams worked on developing goals and objectives utilizing the additional information received during the workshops.  On June 9, each strategic initiative team presented their work for the Strategic Plan Task Force.  Feedback was given to each team to be used to complete the Goals and Objectives and prepare them to present their ideas at the June 28 Task Force meeting. Additional members from across the campus were invited to participate on specific teams.

Where we are going . . .

July 2017 - Initiative teams will be working on developing operational plans for the goals and objective we collectively decide to pursue.

August 2017 – Initiative teams will prepare to announce SUNY Cobleskill’s Strategic Plan by providing workshops and a presentation to the entire campus community.

September 2017 – A new strategic plan is to be approved and operationalization started by the college.

It is our intention to continue to grow and adapt as the strategic planning process continues to refine our thinking and clarity.  We look forward to setting a direction in which our campus community enthusiastically engages to chart the future of our fabulous educational institution.

As of June 28, 2017

“Design Our Future” -  New Strategic Plan

It is with pride and gratitude to announce that SUNY Cobleskill has a new strategic plan, including new vision, mission and value statements. This forward-looking plan that will “Design our Future”, was crafted by the caring, talented and dedicated Strategic Planning Task Force under the leadership of Scott Ferguson and Anita Wright. They created a process through which the community addressed complex and seemingly conflicting issues. They envisioned a vibrant future, remaining attentive to our current distinctiveness and honoring our past.  Listed below are the members to whom we owe our appreciation for stepping up to the challenge and performing exemplary service leading to a job well done. 


We are at the ready to continue our service to COBY through our new roadmap.



As the premier educational institution of agriculture and technology, SUNY Cobleskill calls all learners to grow, to sustain, and to renew the world and its citizens.


SUNY Cobleskill sets the standard for applied education that extends theory into practice.  We cultivate our students to positively affect the cultural, economic, natural, social, and technological forces in their lives. 


SUNY Cobleskill is a campus community characterized by empathy, inclusivity, respect, personal growth, integrity and a collaborative spirit fostering well-being and sustainable practices.  We recognize and celebrate student, faculty and staff achievements.  We take pride in our campus and encourage collaboration with our surrounding communities.


Task Force Members

Adams, Kyle R

Anderson, Jeffrey M

Asselin, Edward E

Barney, Matthew S  

Barvoets, Peter D  

* Batchelder, Joseph B  

Benninger, Karina M  

* Berger, Lynn A 

Brabetz, Barbara L 

* Cornwell, Mark D  

Cronin, Thomas J  

* Dunn, Paul L 

* Edsall, Carrie A  

Evans, Jason R

** Ferguson, S. Scott

Gell, Barry F  

Gilman, Wendy C  

Goblet, Lois E  

* Grant, Caleb R  

Healy, Amy K 

Hopkins Gross, Anne M  

Jagendorf-Sobierajski, Susan  

Karlin, Molly E  

* Kollar, Katherine E  

LaLonde, Matthew M  

Lawrence, Frank J  

Lopez, Elizabeth L  

Machado, Joseph M 

Martin, Bonnie G 

Moore, Timothy W  

Orgeron, Elizabeth D  

* Purcell, Tim  

Richards, Debra A  

* Rivituso, Giacomo  

* Stein, Eric  

* Terenzio, Marion A  

Winter, Sophie T 

Winter, Tara L  

** Wright, Anita  

Zimmermann, Susan J 


(Bonny Boice & Jim Feldman)


*Members since February 2017        **Task Force Chair